Golden Thread Sketchbook Project: Chapter 1
In September 2020, I joined a group of artist to take part in a collaborative sketchbook project. Read all about the project here. The idea was to produce a sketchbook page for a travelling sketchbook. This became a physically bound book and will be sold at auction later this year (2021).
We were asked to create a sketchbook page for the book, the theme: Our journey through lockdown. The piece below is my personal journey through lockdown*.
The Unexpected Starts Here
MY JOURNEY INTO LOCKDOWN STARTED BEFORE LOCKDOWN ARRIVED. THE UNEXPECTED WAS NOT JUST RESERVED FOR THAT DAY, MORE WAS YET TO REVEAL ITSELF…
Like a series of surreal steppingstones, I found myself hailing a cab from my GP’s surgery to the Accident & Emergency department at my local hospital late one afternoon; a note from my GP requesting an urgent CT scan to be carried out held tightly in my worried hands. Thinking I’d have the scan then head home I found myself admitted into hospital and the nurse excitedly saying that the surgical team was in a buzz hearing about my uncomfortable appendix.
This is where my journey began – in a busy covid19-free ward; lockdown not yet on the cards…
Days later, at home, I received a delightful bouquet of flowers in the post from work, it brought tears to my eyes, with a heart-warming card; I felt so blessed. Though bittersweet tones wrapped its potent petals. For days soon after, whilst still healing, I found out my role was being made redundant, that I will no longer have a job. Suddenly the flowers sitting in the vase taunted me, tears trickled down my cheeks as the hurt seared through me. My heart worn and heavy, bereavement befell me.
I was confused, angry, hurt and lost; this could not be happening to me, but it was.
Yet, despite feeling all this, I had to heal, I had to stay strong. My support bubble keeping me focused, I persevered, I immersed myself in the things I enjoyed, inviting positivity in. I went outside, testing my ability to walk longer and longer distances, managing 15 minutes at first, then much much longer – only to discover all the restrictions imposed in my local park.
Whilst on this journey of recovery my love for art and creativity rekindled. I found the courage and faith to believe I can be a successful artist. Like a beating heart and a free-flowing river, the golden thread weaves through the painting, breathing life into the heart of my journey. From the removal of my appendix to seeing hearts in blossoms and trees, to finding my colourful passion in art and life, like a light filtering through the trees capturing imaginations and possibilities.
It happened all too quickly. A surreal whirlwind of a bad dream turning good. This was my journey, sad blue overtones to faith building courage and spiritual strength.
To find out more about this piece, check out this interview.
*The original artwork created for the project was too big to fit in the bound sketchbook, therefore a print of it has been included in the sketchbook. The original will be available to buy soon.
Golden Thread Sketchbook Project: Chapter 2
Continuing with the Golden Thread Sketchbook project, chapter two asked us to explore Identity, which was interesting as it’s a subject I often ponder on due to my dual nationality. And coincidentally I was reading about this in December 2020; read my artist’s statement below and the interview which delves into my thought process.
The Identity Puzzle
IDENTITY. MY MULTIPLICITY. YOU’D THINK IDENTITY IS EASY TO EXPLORE AND UNDERSTAND. IT IS NOT. OUR WHOLE DNA, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE IS MADE UP OF SO MANY NUANCES. MAKING US EACH A UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL IN THIS VAST UNIVERSE WE CALL HOME.
I have been reading ‘How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division’ by Elif Shafak, and it is there I first discovered and connected with the term ‘multiplicity’. Throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood, I’ve always felt like I was trying to ‘fit in’ to society. My Turkish and Britishness always made me feel like I was not quite one or the other, akin to a jigsaw puzzle piece not quite fitting in, despite you willing it to do so. I never realised that there was such a thing of choosing to be beyond the classifications given to us by society; that I could choose multiplicity.
Then there’s another aspect of hidden identity. Passing. It is only recently that I understood the notion of ‘Passing’, a story written by Nella Larsen; growing up I adopted ways to pass off as being ‘white’ – a label to this day still bemuses me. Why is it necessary to be categorised into a box? Why that box? My uniqueness rebels at the thought of being boxed-in, particularly for a tick-box exercise. Yet, growing up in a country I was made to feel alien to, I found ways of passing. I suppose that’s Cultural Assimilation in a way. Nevertheless, that act of ‘passing’ always brought the realisation that I am still an outsider.
In this animation, my three paintings based on identity become a puzzle. Showing we are all fragmented, and these fragments are made up by many things, including culture, ethnicity, heritage as well as how society defines us. By piecing the pieces of the puzzle together we become whole. To become whole, we need to understand who we are by recognising the fragments and what they stand for.
To find out more about this piece and my thought process behind it, read this interview on identifying the pieces of the puzzle.
View the original artworks below.
Past Collaborations in digest
2020 – Golden Thread Sketchbook project. Website collaboration with a team of 6 artists, coordinating 36 artists, to set-up their About and Artists’ Statement pages for the website (there’s two chapters). I oversaw the creation and coordination of the website with the help of a great team of admin support.
2000 – Design for Degree Show poster, working together with other artists.
1999 – A collaboration on the Internet. Working with Susan Diab. (Website no longer online.)